He Got Game

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Released 1998

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Movie Summary

Director:
Spike Lee
Released:
1998
Rating:
R
He Got Game is the acclaimed 1998 sports drama from legendary director Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Clockers), teaming he and Oscar nominee Denzel Washington once again for a stellar effort. Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington, Glory, The Hurricane, Philadelphia) is put in prison for the murder of his wife. He has not had a civil conversation with his son, Jesus (Ray Allen) since then, but years later he is offered a shorter prison sentence if he can convince Jesus to play basketball for Big State University. As the two confront the past and struggle to accept each other's lives, basketball is all they have in common. Jesus and his girlfriend Lala (Rosario Dawson, Death Proof, Alexander) are both faced with the harsh reality of greed, sex, drugs, bribery, and the gritty life of professional basketball. Meanwhile, Jake copes with life as a lonely felon while mending his relationships with his children.

Metacritic Score

  • 88

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Lee uses visual imagination to lift his material into the realms of hopes and dreams.

  • 80

    The New York Times Elvis Mitchell

    Basketball, bold urban landscapes, larger-than-life characters and red-hot visual pyrotechnics are the strong points of Mr. Lee's biggest three-ring circus, not to mention the cent...

  • 60

    Variety Emanuel Levy

    Lacking the moral indignation, outrage and militant politics that marked Lee's earlier work, this vibrantly colorful film is a tad too soft at the center, and arguably the director...

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    Categories

    Drama, Sports

    Themes

    poverty on display, Independent, African-American Drama, 90s, absent parent